Mellon Foundation Awards $2 Million for Music Program at Bard College

Bard College has announced a $2 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help launch an innovative graduate music and orchestral ensemble program.

The grant will support the launch of the Master of Music Degree Program in Curatorial, Critical, and Performance Studies and a related ensemble, Orchestra Now, providing musicians with professional-level orchestral training that is integrated into the interdisciplinary graduate study of music's place in culture and history. The program is designed to prepare a select group of conservatory graduates to succeed in the modern symphony orchestra and produce scholars and advocates of classical and contemporary music as well as practiced members of top-grade orchestras.

To that end, students in the program will receive three years of advanced orchestral training and take graduate-level courses in orchestral and curatorial studies, leading to a Master of Music degree. All musicians accepted into Orchestra Now will receive a full-tuition scholarship, an annual stipend of $24,000, and health benefits. The grant from the foundation will help support student stipends, curriculum development, and salary, as well as honoraria for visiting faculty and lecturers. The orchestra and the graduate curriculum are a collaboration of the college, the Longy School of Music, and the Bard College Conservatory of Music and its graduate conducting program.

"I would like to thank the Mellon Foundation for this generous grant to our new graduate program in orchestral studies, which is modeled after the successful program of our Center for Curatorial Studies," said Bard College president Leon Botstein. "We appreciate the Mellon Foundation's support of innovative programs such as this one, which binds together the arts and the humanities. This new program extends the same contextual approach we value in the visual arts to practitioners of music in an orchestral setting."